Sunday, December 30, 2012

Four for Four ~ Movie Reviews

lmc

Watching movies in the theater has been a rare event for me in the past years. Usually I log one or two a year. Some years, none.

This week? Four in four days.

Movie reviews are, obviously, not my forte, but I have one in particular (take a wild guess) that I’d like to talk about so I may as well mention all four.

#1: Skyfall

If you like action flicks (I do) and Bond movies (I do), Skyfall delivers. Russ and I enjoyed a date night on Wednesday with Holly and Casey at our local vintage theater. I think that is the first double date we’ve ever been on with them in 17 years. The movie was entertaining, though I apparently have a different rating system than the MPAA (shocking). But if you’ve seen Bond movies before, you won’t be surprised.

#2: Les Miserables

Do you hear the people sing?

In eighth grade I read the masterpiece by Victor Hugo. In ninth grade I memorized most of the Broadway songs. In tenth grade I went to see the musical live. The love-affair was inflamed, and I’ve had a passion for the story and music ever since. Glorious is the only way to describe it. I’ve spent the past years enjoying (singing my heart out along with) the powerful, emotional songs on DVD and on YouTube.

When I found out they were turning the Broadway musical into an epic film staring none other than Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe (two of my all-time favorites), words can’t begin to describe my anticipation. Would they slaughter it? Knock it out of the park?

Thursday evening I headed to the theater with my sisters, mom, and other ladies from my most awesome book club to finally watch the masterpiece.

Masterpiece it was.

Loved it. Loved it. Loved it.

Anne Hathaway as Fontine was stunning. Hugh Jackman as Valjean, insane. He brought so much depth, raw emotion, tenderness, and reverence to the role. Outstanding. Eddie Redmayne as Marius grew on me. His "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" was phenomenal. My fondness for Russell Crowe and the epic cinematography while he was singing made up for his weak voice (comparatively). I adore the fact that they cast Colm Wilkinson (the original Jean Valjean, also starring in the 10th anniversary concert) as the bishop, and that they gave him a part in the very end of the movie (which was very moving and beautiful).

Cons: They pushed the envelope as far as they could with the prostitution and innkeepers scenes and still maintain a PG-13 rating (though I wouldn’t consider it appropriate for early teens). The prostitution scene emphasized the theme of redemption in a fallen world and adequately portrayed Fontine’s shame rather than glorifying the situation. (To quote my friend Jessye, Victor Hugo did such a good job portraying how disgusting a society is that leaves women no other option than to sell herself. It would be a shame to lump that idea with "just another sex scene.") I personally have always disliked the scene/song with the innkeepers, and it was more crass and cringe-worthy “in your face” in this film version. (You can read more discussion on the subject at CiRCE Institute, in the comments as well.)

I missed the full effect of "One Day More" when they had to switch screens quickly to show each character singing, and the general shakiness of the filming drove me crazy a couple times. There is virtually no spoken dialogue. This may be a drawback to some (especially men, or viewers who don’t realize that going into the film), but the music is the story.

Overall, I thought the film was outstanding. Les Miserables is such a shining picture of grace and redemption, and the film did not back down from that at all.

Oh, and I loved the fact that a couple of the emotional songs were filmed up close and personal. It was all about the emotion of the character. The oft reappearing candlesticks were a beautiful reminder of Valjean’s redemption. Also, I adored the touching scene right after Jean Valjean gets Cosette from the Thenardiers (blech!!) and they are driving away. Is there anything Hugh Jackman cannot do?

If you want to read an excellent review, this one came as close as possible to my own opinion of the film.

The clash between law and grace is well known. Javert is the man of the law; his moral compass is like the stars in the heavens, unbending and unyielding: "So it is written on the doorways of paradise / that those who falter and those who fall / must pay the price." His is a closed universe, cloaked in strict justice: it is karma in which he believes, that fate that provides a world "that can hold" together. Javert's worldview cannot account for grace. Grace moves, as Bono of U2 sings, "outside of karma." It upends our facile assumptions about strict cause-and-effect justice. Law, in Javert's worldview, freezes an individual for all time as one who obeys the law or a lawbreaker. He has no room for real mercy and real transformation, such as occurs in the life of Jean Valjean. Javert cannot understand or deal with a man who forgives others and shows mercy to the "miserables" of this world. And, when shown mercy himself by his dreaded enemy ("The man of mercy comes again!" he derisively sings), chooses not to live in such a world any longer, a world "that cannot hold." He "escapes now from that world / from the world of Jean Valjean." Karma and grace cannot coexist. One either lives perfectly by the whole law, or one casts himself upon God's mercy in Christ. Those are the only two options, and that is why so many Christians the world over have loved and cherished this musical. It presents the options as clearly as anything.

Please read the rest by Brian Mattson at this link.

#3: The Hobbit

On Friday evening I took Levi and Luke to watch The Hobbit. I chose an older theater, not 3D, and we sat toward the back. Levi has read all of the Tolkien books several times, as well as watched all the Lord of the Rings movies at home. He re-read The Hobbit to prepare himself for what creatures would be in the movie. He is a little on the sensitive side, but fantasy in general, and Tolkien in particular, are his thing. Luke is my non-sensitive, action- and gore-loving kid, and he has watched the Lord of the Rings movies as well, so I knew he would be able to handle it.

The movie is beautiful and epic…and intense and grotesque in parts. The boys hid their heads a few times, but they did really well. (I would not suggest taking sensitive children to this movie. There is a reason it is PG-13.)

As for me, I strongly identified with Bilbo Baggins at the beginning of the film, and the voice of Richard Armitage carried me through the rest (insert swooning smile). I have confirmed that fantasy isn’t really my thing. And that’s okay. (I reserve the right to make exceptions, such as the Narnia series/movies.)

#4: Here Comes the Boom

Have any of you even heard of this one? It almost seems sacrilegious to mention a Kevin James movie after Bond, Les Mis, and Tolkien. But, sometimes ridiculous (clean!) humor is just what the doctor ordered. So, after watching the trailer, I suggested to Russ that we should go with another couple up to the cheap dinner theater and watch it on Saturday. Surprisingly, every one of us loved it. Laughing my head off is exactly what I needed yesterday, when I was feeling a little burned-out. And Russ is taking the boys out of my hair today to watch it again at another cheap theater so that I get a quiet day to myself. Ahhhhhhhhhhh!! Bliss!

(Please don’t think less of me.)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Day

Img2012-12-25_0013f

Our family has the same Christmas Day traditions each year. We do breakfast and stockings at home then load up to spend the rest of the day down the road at my parents’ house. All of my family is together every Christmas day. (We had a wonderful evening celebration with my in-laws a few days earlier, and they spoiled us rotten with a lovely dinner and piles of gifts!)

I tried to take a few pictures before the rest of the crew arrived. Lola was being difficult, as two year olds can be.

Img2012-12-25_0042fImg2012-12-25_0070f

Ben and Shannon walked over from next door with the best Christmas present ever (who, even though itty bitty, did not fit in the doll cradle my dad made for us when we were little).

Img2012-12-25_0102f

Holly and Casey and kids arrived with the prime rib (which Casey cooked on his Traeger grill) and baby Jesus.

Img2012-12-25_0077fImg2012-12-25_0075f

We finally settled in the living room to open gifts. We open packages one at a time, youngest to oldest. The adults draw names at Thanksgiving, and gifts are simple and thoughtful.

Img2012-12-25_0105fImg2012-12-25_0108f

Aunt Shannon found the sweetest vintage books for each of the nieces and nephews. Luke spent time between gifts reading his. I’m so excited about the vintage Chitty Chitty Bang Bang she bought for Leif.

Img2012-12-25_0111

Bambi and Poppy gave Levi arrows and a fabulous quiver to go with the bow he received from his other grandparents. Bambi also made beautiful aprons for Luke and Leif who love to help me in the kitchen. The boys also received Playmobil sets from Bambi and Aunt Holly.

Img2012-12-25_0119

Holly gave us a dozen eggs from their chickens and jars full of dried apple slices which my boys look forward to every year. Ivy made each of us personalized book marks.

One of my most favorite gifts was the first installment of the book Ilex is writing for the boys, The Chronicles of the Realm of WilloWood During the Age of Macer Queen Simylene. They each have characters in an ongoing fantasy world (WilloWood) that they “play” when Ilex comes to spend time with them, and she is turning it into a written story.

I have an awesome family. So awesome it brings me to tears.

Img2012-12-25_0122f

After gifts, the living room is cleaned up, furniture moved, and the room transformed into a dining room to fit our whole crew at “one” table.

While the last minute dinner prep was going on, the little people were getting some baby-holding time. On our short drive that morning, Leif (who hadn’t seen baby Rilla yet) had sweetly been talking about how he was going to hold her. “Oh, I hope she holds my finger!” (He was so sweet, it almost made up for his terrible attitude while opening gifts—just so you know it isn’t all perfection.)

Img2012-12-25_0127fImg2012-12-25_0131fImg2012-12-25_0135fImg2012-12-25_0140fImg2012-12-25_0146f

Dinner was next on the agenda: prime rib (thanks to Casey), bread dressing (Mom’s tasty creation), cheese potatoes, homemade bread, and our traditional jello salad (my contributions), green salad, and sparkling cider. (We gave Shannon the holiday off, considering she had major surgery just five days prior and was caring for a newborn.)

Since the weather cleared for a short time right after dinner, we snuck outside to snap a few pictures. We had to get one of all the ladies of the family.

Img2012-12-25_0174fpm

I was glad Lola was feeling more cooperative.

Img2012-12-25_0184fImg2012-12-25_0186fImg2012-12-25_0197f

After cleaning up the dinner mess, the boys played Poppy’s new WWII Monopoly, we watched Take Peace - A Corgi Cottage Christmas with Tasha Tudor, and everyone ate delicious pie (my mom made gluten free apple and chocolate pecan pies, I made Greek walnut pie and brought a Costco pumpkin pie, and Holly brought cupcakes for their traditional birthday cake for Jesus).

Img2012-12-25_0207f

Then we packed up and drove the two miles home to fall into our beds.

Lovely.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

All I Want to Do Is…

…Snuggle up in a blanket and read my new books (while eating leftover Greek walnut pie topped with whipped cream, of course).

But…the kids and hubby finished most of their books in less than 24 hours. And the house needs to be cleaned. Laundry needs to be done. Christmas decorations need to be put away. Rooms need to be organized. Pictures need to be blogged. Birthday party needs to be planned. Movies need to be watched (Skyfall with hubby tonight, Les Miserables with book club girls tomorrow evening, The Hobbit with Levi Friday evening?).

Meanwhile, I still have children who need to be parented. {imagine that} And they don’t seem to want to spend the whole week quietly snuggled up with books. Especially the two year old:

Img2012-12-25_0185f

And the six year old:

Img2012-12-25_0205f

Would anyone like some post-Christmas children? I promise they make life very…exciting.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Wishing You a Warm, Homey Sort of Christmas

Img2012-12-24_0004f

It is always a bit full and busy around our house during the days leading up to Christmas, and then we are at my parents’ home all day on Christmas Day. I don’t have many extra minutes to post about what we are doing…because we are busy doing and just spending time together.

Today has been a busy day of baking and cooking. I love the smell of Swedish Limpa bread, all yeasty with fennel, molasses, and orange.

I’ve also snuck in some lovely baby time. Rilla Grey is just like a little doll. So peaceful, she almost doesn’t seem real!

I’m looking forward to a relaxing, glorious day with family tomorrow. I’ll try to post pictures the next day (and of course there will be some baby sweetness to share!).

I wish all you dear readers and friends a lovely Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Welcoming Rilla Grey

Img2012-12-20_0059f2Img2012-12-20_0065fpmImg2012-12-20_0152fImg2012-12-20_0146fImg2012-12-20_0097fImg2012-12-20_0121fImg2012-12-20_0178fImg2012-12-20_0093fImg2012-12-20_0200fImg2012-12-20_0056fImg2012-12-20_0191f

I don’t think Ben’s feet touched the ground all day. He and Shannon are utterly smitten.

Img2012-12-20_0095f

Rilla Grey was born by scheduled c-section on Thursday at noon (due to her frank breech position). These are pictures from later that evening. My mom has some beautiful natural light pictures from yesterday.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Savoring Christmas

Img2012-12-19_0007f

Less than a week until Christmas and so much left to savor!

Friends of ours again invited us on their annual trolley ride around town to look at Christmas lights and sing carols. It was a highlight of our Christmas season!

And then my friend (my best friend’s mom) brought me homemade baklava. I feel so loved. (She knows it is my most favorite Christmas treat. Thank you, Judy!!)

My sister suggested we take a field trip to a local furniture store.  Furniture store, you ask? So did my boys as we pulled up. “Hey, we thought we were going on a fun outing!” My sister, my parents, the kids, and I wandered around in delight. It is part furniture store, part crazy museum/amusement park. Right in our back yard. (Well, Lebanon, which is even stranger.) Who knew? Airplanes hanging from the ceiling. A vintage bumper car to sit in. Vintage cars and boats galore. A lightening storm in the back. And all decked out for Christmas. Crazy is the only word I have to describe it. Levi and Luke gave it five stars. Lola thought is was a place of wonder.

Leif decided to come down with the stomach flu on the way there, puked as soon as he walked in, and lay on the floor by the front door the whole time we were there. Poor guy. I’m praying no one else gets the bug, but we are hunkering down and taking it easy just in case. (Shannon thought her water should break to make the trip to the furniture store more complete. They’d never let us come back.)

Speaking of Shannon, tomorrow is the day. Send prayers and best wishes her way!!

While we are snuggling up and not spreading germs, we are reading the rest of our Christmas book stack. And having a Nutcracker fest. We love DK Classics: The Nutcracker for the story, illustrations, photographs, and background information as well as watching The Nutcracker on DVD (I think this 1997 version is available for free streaming with Amazon Prime).

nch

New to us this year is the original tale of Nutcracker, written in 1816 by E.T.A. Hoffman. It is a fantastic story with rich language, now paired with illustrations by Maurice Sendak. Sendak also designed the sets and costumes for the Pacific Northwest Ballet's Christmas production of the Nutcracker which is available on Netflix instant streaming.

What are you doing to savor the rest of the season?

You have the power to touch someone’s life. Do it.

A couple hours after watching this video I drove up to the post office annex and groaned. I had all four kids and the line was all the way to the door. I almost didn't go in (how on earth would I wait that long with an impatient two year old in my arms?), but I had to get my things mailed.

As I got in the back of the line, the gentleman who was second in line walked back to me. "Please take my place in line."

I was in tears as I thanked him.

I almost didn't accept the man's offer (why is it so hard for us to accept someone else's kindness?), but I hope the experience blessed him as much as it blessed us. And it was a great example of kindness to all the other people in line!

Seriously, people. Do you know the power that you have to touch someone's life with seemingly insignificant acts of kindness?

Just twenty minutes later, the boys and I were inspired to pass it on. Our neighbor’s garbage and recycling had blown over in the wind storm and were in the ditch full of water. My boys happened to have their big boots on and in the rain they fished around for all the trash and put the bins back up. I was so proud of the boys and thankful for what the experience could teach them.

Standing in long lines we cannot do. Wet and muddy—that we can.

Go. Do what you can do. Don’t underestimate the transformative power of little things.

Friday, December 14, 2012

“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep.”

Christmas Bells

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I HEARD the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men."

Thursday, December 13, 2012

More Confessions

life2010-12-25_0001DSC_0170f

(What is it about the holiday season that can induce so many feelings of guilt and inadequacy?)

1. I am a terrible gift-giver.

I want to give gifts that are perfect, treasured, surprising, purchased locally (or handmade), and either shockingly inexpensive or sacrificially expensive—gifts that tell the recipients: I know you, and you are loved. That isn’t asking too much, is it?

Now, for some people (I personally know a few) this is their gift. (Pun intended.) They scout and hunt and cross rivers and mountains for months to come up with that precious, perfect, surprising thing. Or they whip up some creative magic and voila!

I am not that person.

2. I don’t shop locally.

Actually, I don’t shop much at all. And when I do shop, I usually have four kids in tow. Three boys and a toddler. Yeah, we don’t go into pretty shops much.

I think this one induces the most guilt. After all, I used to co-own a local shop that depended on the loyalty of customers willing to make the effort instead of buying at Target or online. And willing to pay a little more for atmosphere.

Guess where I shop?

Costco. Target. Old Navy. Amazon.

Yep. That’s it. Oh, and the grocery store when I can’t find what I need at Costco (or if I don’t want the mega-size they offer).

3. I don’t think toys are magical.

Are you one of those parents who gets as excited about toys as your children, who are overjoyed to receive them? In the past year, two of my friends went to the effort to purchase gifts for my children for the sole purpose of fulfilling my children’s dreams. They are the type of people who are able to see things with the eyes of a child.

I buy books.

Maybe it is because I’ve been at this parenting gig long enough to see toy after toy abandoned within days (sometimes hours) and piled up in a room with no space. Or games pulled out and pieces scattered without the game ever being played. When the budget is small, the house is small, and the child’s interest (in playing or cleaning up) is small, why buy toys?

Do your kids play with toys? My boys aren’t big toy-players. Our family must be an anomaly because my boys don’t even like Legos. They do enjoy Playmobil, so that is one collection that we keep handy in a big bin. They also have gotten a lot of use out of the tunics and cloaks my mom made them for Christmas last year, so we have a second bin for dress-up/costume stuff. Other than that, most of their toys are in the attic.

So how do I approach Christmas shopping?

Amazon Prime is a lifesaver. It takes the stress out of Christmas gifts. I can “shop” in snatches of time for a huge variety of items. I can view wish lists. I can create wish lists. I can make small orders here and there. I can order the week before Christmas. I don’t pay shipping.

My extended family creates Amazon wish lists and we draw names among the adults.

We don’t spend a lot on Christmas gifts, especially toys.

I purchase gifts for the people on my list, and I’m thrilled if a couple are “it” gifts. I have a couple “it” gifts this year. That makes me happy.

My boys are all getting books. Luckily they love books. (If only they could savor them just a bit longer!) We are getting the Oliver Twist (Radio Theatre) production as a family gift, as well.

tlm

One of the gifts I’m excited about is a book/toy combination. I’ve purchased The Littlest Matryoshka for Lola and got Matryoshka Nesting Dolls to go with the book. Honestly, I think even the boys are going to enjoy sharing these with her. They are just plastic nesting dolls, but I really think she’ll love putting them together and taking them apart. (I thought about getting these Mini Owl Matryoshkas, but I think we’ll wait and see if she enjoys the first set.)

The gift that could go either way (a hit or a disaster) is the 8 Note Hand Bells set I purchased for the kids. We’ve watched a couple hand bell choirs lately, and it is quite the fascinating experience. I had the opportunity to play in one years ago. This could be a great family project that fosters unity and harmony…or serious discord. I’ll try not to set my expectations too high. {wry grin} I also purchased the book of Hymns for 8 Note Bells (with CD). We’ll see how it goes.

(Don’t feel too sorry for my boys, toy-lovers. I know they will be getting some fun things from the grandparents.)

 

Do you enjoy Christmas shopping?

 

Do you have any gifts you are particularly excited to give this year?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Mt. Hope Academy @ The Live & Learn Studio ~ November (-Dec.) 2012

 Sentence Diagramming

(Diagramming challenges with friends. I made a few mistakes. Can you spot them?)

"To make the content of the curriculum relevant to the everyday life of the pupil, it is essential not to shrink the content to match the pupil's present experience, but to expand the life of the pupil to match the proposed curriculum."

~Stratford Caldecott, Beauty in the Word: Rethinking the Foundations of Education

 

Img2012-12-05_0016f

Andrew Kern (spoken words from the Two Andrews seminar):

"Knowing the truth about something is extremely practical, but when the practical is the goal, the truth is lost." "If you can't say something about a subject, there is no subject. God Himself is a predicated subject." "You can't drink the ocean. Just fill a cup and start drinking. Take the next step." "Falsehood only exists in sentences, not in creation." "As our truth expands, so does our ignorance. It should humble us." "What can my child do, and what is next? Don't assess a child for what you wish they were able to do."

 

::  Struggle For Smarts? How Eastern And Western Cultures Tackle Learning @ NPR:

"For example, Stigler says, in the Japanese classrooms that he's studied, teachers consciously design tasks that are slightly beyond the capabilities of the students they teach, so the students can actually experience struggling with something just outside their reach. Then, once the task is mastered, the teachers actively point out that the student was able to accomplish it through hard work and struggle."

 

::  Take the 100 Words Quiz! @ Write at Home (From the American Heritage Dictionary’s “100 Words Every High School Graduate Should Know”) Take the quiz. I double dog dare you. And then come back and tell us how you did. {grin}

 

::  Vague-Talking and the Loss of English @ Minding the Campus:

“It was, like, you know, like, whoa. I mean, I'm like omigod! It was, hello, you know, totally amazing, and stuff.”

 

::  Books in Home as Important as Parents' Education in Determining Children's Education Level @ Science Daily

"But, strikingly, this massive study showed that the difference between being raised in a bookless home compared to being raised in a home with a 500-book library has as great an effect on the level of education a child will attain as having parents who are barely literate (3 years of education) compared to having parents who have a university education (15 or 16 years of education)."

 

 

Landfill Harmonic film teaser from Landfill Harmonic on Vimeo.

 

::  Memorization Should Not Be a Lost Art @ Lesson Planet:

“Memorization allows scholars to warehouse, if you will, a stockpile of concepts. Important background information will only help learners throughout their lives. Also, the creativity process is a mysterious one. The more useful concepts that students have stored, the easier it is for their minds to sift through their "files" and allow them the satisfaction of discovering new ideas."

That made me think of two other favorite quotes about memorization.

::  Michael Clay Thompson:

'There are times when memorization is out of favor in education. Some might say that “rote memorization” is not appropriate as a teaching strategy. “Rote memorization,” however, is loaded language, biased against the discipline and effort required to learn things permanently. There is nothing wrong with challenge. We must remember that the alternative to remembering is forgetting, and when we teach something as important as grammar, that will be needed for one’s entire life, the ban on memorization makes little sense. There are areas of knowledge that should be memorized, and in the past, there was a better term for it: to learn by heart.'

::  Anthony Esolen in the Foreword from Beauty in the Word: Rethinking the Foundations of Education by Stratford Caldecott:

“But more than that, we would desire to bring children into the garden of created being, and thought, and expression. Caldecott reminds us that for the medieval schoolmen, as for Plato, education was essentially musical, an education in the cosmos or lovely order that surrounds us and bears us up. Thus when we teach our youngest children by means of rhymes and songs, we do so not merely because rhymes and songs are actually effective mnemonic devices. We do so because we wish to form their souls by memory: we wish to bring them up as rememberers, as persons, born, as Caldecott points out, in certain localities, among certain people, who bear a certain history, and who claim our love and loyalty.

The memory, too, gives the child both the strength and the armor he needs for what comes next, and that is thought itself—strength to search for truth, and armor against easy and plausible falsehoods.”

I didn’t keep a careful record of the past month and a half, but this is what I have:

Classical Conversations (Cycle 1, Weeks 8-12) Foundations: One morning each week. Memory work in timeline, history, science, Latin, English grammar, math, and geography. Includes weekly hands-on science projects/experiments, fine arts projects, social time, and public speaking. Essentials: (Levi) One afternoon each week; includes grammar, vocabulary, writing, public speaking, and challenging math games. (We are also reviewing the corresponding weeks of memory work from Foundations cycles 2 and 3 at home.)

Faith:
God Our Provider (CD) (Bible memory songs) 
The Children's Illustrated Bible (reading through together, again)
Telling God's Story - Year 2 (lessons 13-20) 
The Gospel Story Bible: Discovering Jesus in the Old and New Testaments  
The Action Bible
Drama of Scripture, The: Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story (for me!)
(Luke and Levi: weekly hymns on piano
Buck Denver Asks: What's in the Bible? (DVD series)

Christmas:
Handel, Who Knew What He Liked by M.T. Anderson, rich illustrations by Kevin Hawke
What's In The Bible? Buck Denver Asks...Why Do We Call it Christmas? (DVD)
Handel's Messiah Family Advent Reader
ST. NICHOLAS: A STORY OF JOYFUL GIVING (Veggie Tales DVD) 
Lots of Christmas books, CDs, and DVDs

Science:
CC Weekly science projects and memory work (parts of plants and plant systems)
I Wonder Why Trees Have Leaves and Other Questions About Plants
Oh Say Can You Seed? All About Flowering Plants (The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library) 
Incredible Plants (Discoveries Library)

Math:
Teaching Textbooks
Life of Fred
MathTacular DVDs

P.E.
Swim team practice (Levi & Luke) 3x week, Swim Meet

Fine Arts:
13 Sculptures Children Should Know
Draw Write Now, Book 1: On the Farm-Kids and Critters-Storybook Characters
CC Music Theory
Piano practice

Language Arts:
Classical Conversations Essentials of the English Language (Levi in class, Levi and Luke at home)
IEW writing (theme-based: Ancients, Levi in CC Essentials Class)
Writing With Ease (Leif: level 1, Luke: level 3)
CC grammar memory work (list of prepositions)
All About Spelling (Levi and Luke Level 3: lessons 18-22, Leif Level 1: –step 16)
Handwriting Without Tears workbooks (cursive for Luke and Levi)
Beginning Outlining (workbook, Luke)
MCT Language Arts, Voyage level (just getting started)

Latin:
Latina Christiana I (lessons 9 and 10?)
CC Latin memory work (Noun Endings-4th and 5th declensions)

Geography:
CC geography (Middle East/Europe/Africa/Ancient Empires, tracing on various dry-erase maps
Geography games (free online)
Draw. Write. Now. Book 7—drawing the continents (blobbing)

Img2012-11-27_0001f

History/Historical Fiction/Literature:
CC Weekly memory work: history sentences and timeline
The Story of the World: Ancient Times (ch. 10-15)
Note-taking skills
IEW Ancient History-Themed writing assignments (Levi)
Playmobil Egyptian Pyramid set
If I Were A Kid in Ancient China (Children of the Ancient World)
Maples in the Mist: Children’s Poems From the Tang Dynasty translated by Minfong Ho (literature)
A Grain of Rice by Helena Clare Pittman (China)
The Magic Horse of Han Gan by Chen Jiang Hong
A Chinese Zoo: Fables and Proverbs adapted and illustrated by Demi (literature)
Ancient China by Natalie M. Rosinky
The Lost Horse by Ed Young (China)
The Seven Chinese Brothers by Margaret Mahy
Ancient India Maurya Empire by John Bankston 
Misoso: Once Upon a Time Tales From Africa retold by Verna Aardema
Tales of the Caribbean: Anansi Stories told by Evan Jones
Rimonah of the Flashing Sword: A North African Tale adapted by Eric Kimmel
The Ancient Maya by Jennifer Fretland VanVoor
Exodus by Brian Wildsmith
Hatshepsut, His Majesty, Herself by Catherine M. Andronik
Hatshepsut: First Female Pharaoh by Peggy Pancella
Temple Cat by Andrew Clements (Egypt)
In Search of King Tut’s Tomb by The Brothers Hildebrandt
Tut’s Mummy: Lost…and Found by Judy Donnelly
Tutankhamen’s Gift by Robert Sabuda
The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt by Elizabeth Payne (172 pp, Levi-IR)
Casting the Gods Adrift: A Tale of Ancient Egypt by Geraldine McCaughrean (95 pp)
Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw (historical fiction, 279 pp, Levi-IR)
Time Cat by Lloyd Alexander (historical fiction, 206 pp, Levi and Luke-IR)
The Cat of Bubastes: A Tale of Ancient Egypt by G.A. Henty (historical fiction, 308 pp, Levi-IR)
Adara by Beatrice Gormley (historical fiction, 850 BC, 151 pp, Levi-IR)
God King: A Story in the Days of King Hezekiah by Joanne Williamson (historical fiction, 700 BC, 206 pp, Levi-IR)
In Search of a Homeland: The Story of the Aeneid by Penelope Lively (literature, 114 pp, Levi and Luke-IR)

Miscellaneous Lovely Picture Books:
A bunch of Thanksgiving picture books
I, Matthew Henson: Polar Explorer by Carole Boston Weatherford
Keep On!: The Story of Matthew Henson, Co-Discoverer of the North Pole by Deborah Hopkinson 
The Man Who Made Time Travel by Kathryn Lasky, pictures by Kevin Hawkes (John Harrison, 1714) (again, rich illustrations by Hawkes)
Reaching for the Moon by Buzz Aldrin, paintings by Wendell Minor (Leif loved this one)
Monet Paints a Day by Julie Danneberg, illustrated by Caitlin Heimerl

Levi’s Free Reading:
Nicholas by Goscinny & Sempe
Penny and Peter by Carolyn Haywood

Luke’s Free Reading:
The Mystery of the Missing Necklace by Enid Blyton
Nicholas by Goscinny & Sempe
The Robber Boy by Dick King-Smith

(The boys read other books and re-read many. I just didn’t keep track this month!)